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Saturday, October 13 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

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Tim Highfield
This paper examines how time and the temporal are critical underpinnings for the presentation and experience of popular social media platforms. Understanding and transforming the temporal is key to the operation of such platforms: it showcases how platforms variously privilege the new and novel, the old and forgotten as catalysts for participation, while moves away from reverse-chronological displays of content to algorithmic ordering further demonstrate temporal disruption. Platforms also use temporal prompts to gain user attention and promote ongoing participation while dissuading inactivity, while time is prominently featured in the automated curation of users’ (digital) memories.

The paper argues that temporal strategies are forms of platform interventions which serve to render time as a site of contestation between digital media platforms and users. It focuses on temporal prompts and archive curation by popular platforms, cumulatively treated as 'platformed time' . The paper analyses archives of temporal notifications and content published by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat between 2016 and 2018, supplemented by coverage of additional temporal features on these and other apps and platforms. In doing so, it explores how these temporal aspects exemplify realisations of the power dynamics of digital media The examples studied underline the temporality promoted (and privileged) by digital media platforms through non-linear displays, temporally-framed notifications, reminders, and updates, and pushing new and whimsical topical features – and how this may be at odds with the temporalities experienced (or desired) by its users.

Minna Saariketo
This presentation examines how the softwarization of everyday life is experienced. The point of embarkation is the observation that despite the proliferation computation in the everyday, people pay little attention to the conditions of software and its role in shaping their mundane time-spaces.

I will discuss results from a case study that used Henri Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis (1992/2004) to shed light on how the rhythms of code-based technology are experienced. The research design of the intervention was inspired by the idea of privacy mirrors (Ngueyn and Mynatt 2002). Research participants (n=13), who described their relation to their devices as intense, used tracking software (RescueTime, ManicTime, App Usage or RealizD) in their ICTs and kept media diaries. These were used as artefacts in the interviews to enable reflection on the role of ICTs in daily life.

The results from the rhythmanalysis show how the complex intertwinement of digital devices and applications in the everyday evokes manifold feelings. Simultaneously, technology is perceived as an aid in organizing and managing the daily life, but it also induces feelings of losing control, chaos, and burden. The results suggest that although people might take for granted the infrastructural conditions of technology, such as data mining, they still actively negotiate their relation to devices and applications vis-à-vis temporality. Outcomes from the intervention encourage developing further research designs that use the means of softwarization itself (e.g. tracking and digital traces) to enable critical reflection.

Delia Dumitrica, Georgia Gaden Jones
Media coverage of digital technologies fulfills a double role: it contributes discursive repertoires (i.e. symbols, stock phrases, narratives, arguments, etc.) to the social imaginary of technology; and it makes technology meaningful by relating it to existing social concerns and dynamics. In this process, media coverage participates in the symbolic construction of ‘legitimate’ social hierarchies and norms for leading a ‘good life’. In this paper, we examine the portrayal of digital technologies in 75 covers of Time magazine (1950-2017). Digital technologies were defined here as hardware such as computers, peripherals or networks; and software. The covers were analyzed using a combination of thematic and discourse analysis. Four themes were identified across the covers: the ambivalence of the computer/human integration; the moral panics around children’s uptake of digital technologies; the question of trust in a digitized environment; and, the celebration of the techno-capitalist. In one way of another, these themes speak to the issue of control: over ourselves (and our children) and over our future (with the accompanying corollary: get ready, or be left behind). We conclude by arguing that this preoccupation with control speaks to wider anxieties associated with the reflexive awareness of uncertainty in modernity, and ask: what forms of control of the self and of the social body are legitimized by these symbolic constructions? And what allocation of power and social roles do they recommend?

Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre